The Dance of Politics: Gender, Performance and Democratization in Malawi

By Mills, Amy C. | Western Folklore, Summer 2011 | Go to article overview

The Dance of Politics: Gender, Performance and Democratization in Malawi


Mills, Amy C., Western Folklore


The Dance of Politics: Gender, Performance and Democratization in Malawi. By Lisa Oilman. (Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 2009. Pp. xi + 252, acknowledgments, maps, introduction, photographs, appendices, references, index. $66.50 cloth, $27.95 paper.)

In The Dance of Politics, Lisa Gilman explores gender and economic power dynamics in contemporary Malawi through the lens of women's political dance performances. Much more than just entertainment, the guie wa chipane ("die dance of politics" in the tide) has become a prominent feature of Malawian politics since the mid-twentieth century. Traditional dancing by Malawi's women entered the political realm as a natíon-building tool during the independence movement. Subsequently, under "President for Life" Dr. Hastings Kamuzu Banda, all women in the country were required to participate, as embodied propaganda for one-party rule. In contemporary Malawi, debate has raged about whether diese praise performances should be part of the emerging democratic, multi-party system. Gilman explores the variety of reasons why poor women still choose to perform songs and dances of praise at campaign rallies and political events.

Gilman's book is a skillful, well-documented exploration of how present-day praise performances provide a powerful avenue for poor Malawian women to participate politically - while simultaneously perpetuating their political marginalization. Her interdisciplinary analysis is an effective conversation between existing literature and the perspectives of the participants. Using interviews and event analysis, Gilman creates a nuanced picture of how economically-disadvantaged female performers use performance to bring a litüe money and freedom into their lives, despite die much greater benefits reaped by wealthy male politicians. Her perspective is refreshingly realistic. She reminds us that most people - from poor Malawian women to academic researchers - respond to inequitable systems by conforming, getting by, and practicing small-scale resistance.

Clearly, Gilman's on-the-ground research was extensive and detailed. Writing about dance is always difficult, and Gilman improves the reading experience by providing links to video field recordings at the online Ethnomusicological Video for Instruction and Analysis Digital Archive (EVIA). …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

The Dance of Politics: Gender, Performance and Democratization in Malawi
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Author Advanced search

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.